They’ve collected books and raised money for a scholarship. Now, the two Montgomery County men who created “Brothers With Books” are awarding their first $250 scholarship to a student at Julius West Middle School in Rockville, Maryland.
Isaac Cudjoe, one half of Brothers with Books, explains that the goal is to give young readers books that reflect their own experiences. Cudjoe said that’s important if adults want kids to read and excel.
“We believe that kids do like reading” but, “they just don’t like reading books that have nothing to do with them, their circumstances or even the people they see when they go home,” Cudjoe said.
So Cudjoe and Kevin Isabelle Peete formed Brothers With Books and sought out reading materials that interest kids in the increasingly diverse Montgomery County. They then made a point of distributing the books for children to keep.
“There’s something empowering about telling a child they can use their agency to claim this book and say it’s a part of their collection. It’s something they take pride in, they can write their name in, and it’s theirs,” Cudjoe said.
A study published in Social Science Research in 2018 examined the impact having books in the home has on children. The study documented how access to “home libraries” had long-term benefits on literacy, numeracy, the ability to work comfortably with numbers and problem solving.
Cudjoe said he’s encouraged by the response from schools, especially Julius West Middle School, where administrators were enthusiastic about the goals of the project.
Cudjoe hopes this is just the start.
“We hope to do it with enough kids in Montgomery County that kids can just start borrowing books from each other,” he said.
The group is on Instagram at @BrothersWithBooks.